Monday, July 2, 2012

That Rockin' Stone!

The stone in my ring rocks a little bit when I press on it. Do I need to worry about it?
Oh yes! You definitely need to worry about it, because you’re about to lose your stone!
Take off your ring immediately and get it to a jeweler. It could have received a hard knock and the prongs were moved a bit. This is a very easy repair for your jeweler, taking only a few minutes and is very inexpensive.
More probably, it only needs the prong(s) retipped. This is where a bit of material is added to the top of the prongs. It’s moderately inexpensive and will save your much costlier stone.
Occasionally, the stone will need to be removed to do this, and a new seat for the stone will be cut. This is more expensive, but you have to take into consideration the loss of the stone otherwise, not to mention the sentimental value.
Things that are worn on an everyday basis, such as a wedding ring, need to be checked at least once a year for loose prongs or settings, and to get a good cleaning.

If you wear your string of pearls several times a week, it will need to be restrung every year. If you wear them only occasionally, they need to be restrung every 2-3 years.
Would you rather wear that special piece of jewelry or prefer to have it sit in a jewelry box?

Do you have a question about jewelry or jewelry care? Drop me a line!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Winner of the Wyoming Jewelry Show!

Bethel Anthony won the "Beyond Sticks and Stones" jewelry show hosted by Works of Wyoming! She had some great jewelry entered, and she does very lovely beaded work in peyote stitch. This is her winning bracelet.

Bethel Anthony's winning entry
She graciously consented to an interview, so I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about Bethel.

Had you previously done other art or crafts before you started beading?

Yes, I have always done some kind of craft. I grew up on a ranch and if we wanted something we usually made it. Cardboard boxes became doll houses, wood slats became stilts, etc. I learned to sew before I went to first grade. I have embroidered, done counted cross stitch, dabbled in polymer clay and scrapbooking. I find bead weaving to be the most satisfying of all.

What drew you to try beading?

I ordered a beaded banner kit and did it. You know the kind with the big plastic pony beads. When I did the second one, I thought, “I could do this with smaller beads and make a Christmas tree ornament.”  

That began my search for smaller beads that would work well. When I found cylinder beads and learned that what I had done on the banner was essentially peyote stitch, I started looking on the internet for peyote stitch designs.

With that my passion blossomed.

This view shows a little more of the pattern-by Bethel Anthony

What do you like about beading the best?


It satisfies my senses and my needs for order, control and color. Weaving the beads together is extremely calming to me. I love to sit down to a pattern and palette of beads and just get lost in the rhythm of picking up a bead and pulling the thread through.

Peyote stitch bead weaving using cylinder beads produces a feel like nothing else I have experienced. The delicate, yet sturdy fabric made of only beads and threads amazes me every time.

Looking at it makes me think of wonderful mosaic tiled artworks. I consider it painting with beads. There are so many beautiful colors and finishes to explore. Each bead makes a difference. Changing just a few colors creates a whole different mood of the piece. The possibilities are endless.

This is the reverse side with the sliding tube catch-by Bethel Anthony

Where do you see yourself going with your beading in the future? What do you want to do?

I am currently creating and selling finished pieces and bead patterns. I want to continue doing both.

I hope to improve my designs and become more artistic with them. I want to design more functional items like boxes and card sleeves and needle cases. I have done a few of these, but I want to move beading to more than just jewelry. I want to make things that people can enjoy on a daily basis.

I really enjoy helping new beaders to learn beading as enjoyment. I hope to be able to continue doing that. I prefer one to one tutoring. There is no feeling like seeing someone suddenly “getting it”. That gives me great joy. 

You can see additional work and her patterns at these places:

Congratulations Bethel!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Making Jewelry Storybook--12-sided citrine gemstone necklace

The gem: a decahedron (12-sided) double star cut orange citrine, 13+ carats.

The setting before soldering, with the seat ring at the top ready to be put in after the setting is soldered.

The setting is soldered and the seat is soldered inside the setting. Now I'm working on the crown with a file. This file is sharp! I have a band-aid on to prevent cutting myself with the file.

I'm refining the crown with a small hand file. Notice I now have 2 band-aids on because I cut my other finger with the sharp file, and I don't want to keep having bloody fingers. Super glue is great for putting cuts back together, but need to prevent them in the first place.

I'm polishing the crown setting with a pumice wheel.

This shows the completed crown setting. You can see the seat ring soldered inside. This is for the stone to lay on. The crown points have relief cuts to protect the sides of the stone from chipping, and so the points will bend over more easily, since it's made from heavy gauge sheet. A bail for the chain has been soldered on, and it's pre-polished before setting.

This is the completed necklace with the stone set.

A little better photo with a close up of the stone.

And the final piece with the neck wire that has a spring compression clasp. The neck wire looks a little odd in the photo because it has a slight curve in it to compensate for laying on the collarbones so that the wire looks circular in appearance.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On the Bench

I'm not a big fan of citrine, but this one sure caught my eye. Orange, double cut star, decahedron (12 sides), 13+ carats. Ah! Nothing like a setting challenge!

I'll have more about the setting and how it was made in a Storybook Jewelry feature, but I decided to keep the emphasis on the stone itself, the setting had to be minimalist. So here's a picture of the necklace with the lovely setting on a neck wire.

Here's another view:

The neck wire looks odd because it's not sitting on a neck form. It's shaped to lay on the collar bones so as to not stick straight out. I also found out I need to turn the termination 90 degrees so it'll flat against the neck. Duh! Obvious things are not always apparent right out of the gate.

Okay, okay, just one more picture!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


OK, things don't go to plan. The 3rd installment of how to clean jewelry has video problems, as in--it sucks. The plan was to do it over, but the weather wasn't cooperating so my daughter could get in to do the filming. Believe me, it'll be worth the wait, okay?

There was the usual Christmas rush and my usual "I don't want to see a piece of metal or a stone for a month!" I'm over it now.

I do my usual slow period stuff, redo the website (that's the Metals and Gems one), do the taxes, sketch a lot and do my pretty stuff that makes my heart sing. Like the one above, which is a doublecut decahedron (that's 12 sides) buff top almost orange yummy citrine. I think it's about 13 carats. Oh, and it's what passes as spring here in Wyoming, so I'm busy with planting.

Soon, I'll be migrating the blog over to WordPress, because it has a lot more options and is easier for people reading it to navigate. Yet another thing I have to learn. Good for the brain cells, right?

I had a big arthritis flare, unable to use my hands much and couldn't sit because of the hip. The medicine the rheumatologist put me on is pretty rough on the system too. Did you know they use chemotherapy drugs for advanced arthritis? I have a whole new respect for people going through chemotherapy--they take a lot more than I do! I feel like a pathetic wuss.

My husband is working hard on the room that will become my studio. He's put down a tile floor and painted the walls. There's much more to be done--wiring, ceiling, finish framing the windows, cabinets--and then the big stuff--moving all the equipment in and finding new places for everything. It's gonna be a great place!

Most of my new work has already been placed in galleries, but I'll be showing you some of my upcoming pieces as shot off the bench.